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June 20, 2001

Sergio Garcia


NELSON LUIS: Welcome Sergio Garcia into the interview room. Sergio is in the midst of another fine season. Had a very solid outing last week at the U.S. Open, so, Sergio, maybe some opening thoughts from you on how you are playing so far and playing here this week.

SERGIO GARCIA: Yes, well, I will say I have been playing pretty well, and of course, last week was a little disappointed, a little disappointing because of the last round, but other than that, I think I have been playing well. I have been having some good chances. I have won, and it feels very nice to be able to play this well. I would like to say one thing on behalf of me and all the PGA TOUR players, we would like to send our prayers to the families of the firemen who died a couple of days ago and just to let them know that we are there for them.

Q. How emotionally draining was that last round for you? How did it feel the day after?

SERGIO GARCIA: I am through already. This is a new week and I still have a lot of majors to play. Of course, it was a great chance to win for me because of the way I was playing and the position I was in, but it's going to happen sometimes unfortunately. You just got to realize those things. But I take it as a great experience. It was great to be up there in a major again, and I'm just hoping to keep playing as well as I have been doing and having some more chances of being up there.

Q. Can you talk about the (inaudible)

SERGIO GARCIA: I always do a couple of waggles. I don't know why I was not feeling that comfortable that day. I was taking too much time over the ball, not really doing waggles, just standing there and moving my hands, but I have been working on that and you know, I have been trying to get where I was. It feels good again.

Q. You said you are working on that? What do you do?

SERGIO GARCIA: Not take so much time over the ball.

Q. (Inaudible)?

SERGIO GARCIA: I just got it back to where it was supposed to be.

Q. (Inaudible)?

SERGIO GARCIA: The thing is, over the ball couple of shots at 9, beginning of the round just didn't feel comfortable, and it took me a little too much time. Then I hit a couple of bad shots, so then that got a little bit into me and probably put a little more pressure on me, but that's over and I have been playing today. It was great, just a couple of waggles, a couple of seconds and then -- it was good. Hit the ball really well today again. I am really happy with the way I am swinging.

Q. Last week's tournament (inaudible) three guys were in contention at the end. (Inaudible) if someone is not out there never experiencing being in contention --

SERGIO GARCIA: It is not easy. It is not as easy as it looks. I could probably compare you know, for example, somebody calls you and gives you the chance of writing for the best newspaper in the world or the best magazine in the world, then I am sure you will be thinking: "Well, I want to write something that is good." The hand will start shaking a little so it will be a little tougher. But it is kind of similar to us in those kind of tournaments because at the end, unless you are leading by a lot, I don't know unfortunately because of the kind of tournament it is, it seems like you just get a little stiffer and it is tougher to finish the job. But I think that Retief did a great job. He played very well over the week and he really -- I think he deserved to win and he did a great job on Monday.

Q. What do you think separates the great finishers? What does it take?

SERGIO GARCIA: Of course, it takes to be out there a lot of times. You are out there, you know what it takes to do it. So that, of course, is important. Being strong mentally is very important too, knowing what to do every time you are over the ball, or every time you are going to hit a putt.

Q. You see yourself to be a good finisher?

SERGIO GARCIA: I will say so. I have never really had a lot of trouble finishing trying to close the deal in a tournament. Once in a while things just don't go your way, but, you know, I will say that you know, I hit good shots, trying to win tournaments and good putts -- and made some good putts and stuff like that. But you, unfortunately, once in a while, it doesn't go the way you want it to.

Q. (Inaudible) anything special to you about playing in New York?

SERGIO GARCIA: Yes, well, of course, it is a little special because of the huge city and the crowds are always big and I really like the golf course. I think the golf course is a great golf course and hopefully, if it doesn't rain much tomorrow, and the course gets firm as it was last year, it's really a U.S. Open-type of course. Rough is pretty thick. The greens are small, undulated and firm, and difficult to hit. So I really like this golf course and I really like this kind of golf. I think that the crowds are very good too.

Q. The way you are playing now, the opportunity you had last year, on Sunday you think you might have closed out?

SERGIO GARCIA: Probably I would have. The way I am playing now and the way I am thinking and everything, I probably would have. But you can never go back in time unfortunately, and try to do something that you didn't do that day.

Q. (Inaudible)?

SERGIO GARCIA: I actually almost eagled 10. I hit to eight feet with the driver. I missed it. 11, I hit it left. I hooked it with a 3-wood and just went through the trees, in the middle of the trees, and by that time I thought I was only leading by 1, so I had a gap to hit it probably-- had to hit a good shot, but I could probably hit it to the front of the green, or if I hit a great shot I would hit it into the green, so tried that. I made some practice swings, I didn't hit it at all. I said, "Okay, that's perfect." I went back, and as soon as I came down, I hit the branch a little and it kind of distracted me, and didn't hit it as well as I would like to, just caught the rough and stayed there and hit it to the front the green, chipped it to about five feet and missed it. Made double-bogey. Dennis birdied that hole, so he got three shots there and unfortunately, I hit a good shot on 17, but the greens were really firm and it bounced and went over the green, made bogey, missed the playoff by one.

Q. Driver every time on 10?

SERGIO GARCIA: It all depends in how I am feeling, how the tournament -- if I am leading by 5 maybe. Depends where the wind is coming from, where the pin is, depends on a lot of things. But it is a hole that I feel pretty comfortable hitting driver with.

Q. Where else do you hit driver?

SERGIO GARCIA: 7. 3, 4, depends in how the fairways are. If they are firm, I will probably hit 3-wood. 5, I hit driver. 7, 9, sometimes 10. 12, it depends in how the fairways are. If they are soft like today, I will hit driver. Then 15 I hit driver. And 18. It's a course that the fairways aren't as narrow as U.S. Open type of courses, so you are able to hit some more drivers. But then going to the greens is when it gets tough.

Q. (Inaudible)?

SERGIO GARCIA: The bunkers are in great shape. They are really good. The sand is really good. The ball obviously lies pretty fair. It is always lying nice and you can spin the ball quite nicely. The bunkers are the way we like it. They are firm, so you don't get any plug, and I think they did some good changes. I was surprised that they put a huge bunker on 7 because it was -- I'll say it was tougher the way it was before because you could get in that rough and then from there, trying to go for the green in 1 then you won't be able to spin it from there. Now from the bunker, you have a little more of a chance. Of course, you could have some long bunker shots there, but I think the changes in the bunker have been very good.

Q. How would you evaluate your career to this point?

SERGIO GARCIA: I am pretty happy the way I have been doing, yes. I would like to have won some more times, but you always have to go through a learning process and I think I have been going through that last year and I have learned a lot of things. I worked pretty hard with my game and now it is getting to a level where I feel that I can come back and try to win every week and be in contention and that's the way you win. If you are over, if you are playing well and you are on the top of leaderboard, trying to win every tournament maybe once in a while, you are not going to win, but sometimes everything is going to go your way and you are going to be able to win, and that's what Tiger has been doing. So that is what I am trying to get at.

Q. You mentioned Tiger. He is here this week. You are here. David Duval is here. Pretty good field. (Inaudible)

SERGIO GARCIA: I won't be able to say if it's more fun or less fun. For sure it's more encouraging because you have the best player in the world and you know that you can't make many mistakes to try to win, but I still think that every course, every tournament is fun. Of course, if you are able to go head-to-head with him on the last round and you are able to beat him you can feel a little better. You feel proud of yourself. But I still have a lot of fun even when he is not in the tournament.

Q. Is it more difficult to prepare for a tournament which is four days after a turn like the Open?

SERGIO GARCIA: Probably a little bit because major takes a lot out of you and for sure yesterday I felt a little tired. I took a day off. I think it was pretty good choice, but overall, you have to still focus again and you are here to play your best and try to win. If not, you shouldn't come. You have to refocus and try to do your best here and try to put yourself in contention.

Q. (Inaudible)?

SERGIO GARCIA: Sleep and I went to the movies a little bit and went out, had -- I watched the playoff. It was good. I was a nice day.

Q. Galleries, (inaudible)

SERGIO GARCIA: I still think that even when he doesn't play there's still a lot of good crowds. For example, he wasn't playing at Colonial. Colonial was amazing crowds, huge crowds there. Byron Nelson there was huge crowds there too. Of course people like to come and watch No. 1 player in the world play and there's a little more people, but even when he is not here there's still a lot of guys who come and watch golf. Just try to watch, to look for a guy who they like best or whatever.

Q. (Inaudible)?

SERGIO GARCIA: It's great to have some different faces in the majors once in a while. I will say that it was -- of course it was good. Those kind of tournaments are always good, doesn't matter who wins, they are always good for the game of golf.

Q. Why do you think?

SERGIO GARCIA: I am sure that people in South Africa are very happy and there will be more guys playing in South Africa now. Golf is still going to be growing and growing all over the world. Doesn't matter who wins.

Q. Do you play different in front of a crowd -- (inaudible)

SERGIO GARCIA: I will say maybe a little bit gamewise I mean you still have to when you come to a tournament you still have to focus as much as you can and try to play well. But I will say that when you have big crowds following you kind of are -- without wanting to, you kind of focus a little harder. You try to play better shots and it is just something that you probably -- subconsciously, I don't know how you say, you just do those kind of things. But I have always liked playing with good crowds.

Q. What did you learn (inaudible)

SERGIO GARCIA: I have learned quite a lot of things. I have learned what it is to be up there in a US Open; that it is always great to be able to do it in that tournament because I have always said that it is probably the hardest tournament in the world. Just look at the winning scores is the highest, it is just great to be able to play well in that kind of tournament. But you learn some things. You learn how to handle yourself in that kind of situation. You learn what it feels like to be there. You learn how enjoyable it is to be there. It just makes you want to have that chance once again.

Q. Disappointing because you had a chance to win or was it more disappointing Tiger wasn't in contention (inaudible)

SERGIO GARCIA: To you, when Tiger is five shots out off the lead, we better just pick up and go home? I don't think it is that way. Why can't we play well. It just seems like the only guy who can play golf in this world is Tiger to you guys. I don't think that is in a good mood to ask. You have to have respect us. I don't feel like that is a fair thing to do. I think that even when he is leading he can be beaten. We showed it sometimes, and we are getting there. I will say it was disappointing more than anything because I had a great chance of winning, not because Tiger was there or wasn't there or whatever happened to him.

Q. (Inaudible) over the course of your career can you describe the difference between making shots in the fourth round back nine, versus other parts of the tournament?

SERGIO GARCIA: It is a little tougher. There is no doubt about that because you know where you are playing for. But you still have to try to trust yourself the most you can and try to put as much confidence as possible in every shot you hit. If you are able to do that then you should be able to win. It is a little different but you just have to try to focus it the same way.

Q. Any decisions (inaudible) to change --

SERGIO GARCIA: For sure I am change some breaks that I had no doubt about that. Not really decisions because for example my drive on two wasn't that bad. But in a major you need some a couple of good breaks at the right time and I didn't get them on Sunday. With a couple of good breaks on Sunday I would have had a good start and that's what you need in a major when you are in contention. I didn't had it until my ball is going probably four yards off the fairways, going- -- is not going to be fine but I can bump-and-run and try to get it to the front of the green or maybe on the green if I get a good shot. Hits a guy on the shoulder, and kicks it back 30 yards straight into the middle of the trees. Wasn't a great break in a major. Then go to 5 I hit a pretty good drive, bounces in the middle of the fairway, kicks way right and gets just in the bunker on the lip, make two bogeys there. Then you can't try to force it because even in a major you want to make, you know, you see that I wasn't hitting -- I wasn't making many putts and the chances I had I didn't make them. You try to force it, try to make some putts, you could miss it. Then you just try to hit it closer and closer to the hole. That's not the way you should play in a major. But fortunately it happened and you just got to learn from those things.

Q. (Inaudible) did you notice if Tiger was hurt when he played in the Open?

SERGIO GARCIA: I don't know. That's the first time I heard.

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